# Solution: Wordlele

### Author:Violet Xiao

From experimenting with clicking around, the following can be determined to a reasonable level of certainty:

• Clicking a tile causes the colors of the top 5 rows of tiles to change. The bottom row is always all green and can’t be clicked.
• Naming a grid causes that name to always appear any time the grid looks the same as the grid that was named.
• Clicking the same spot in the same grid will always produce the same result, no matter how one gets to that grid.
• Clicking two tiles in the same column on the same grid that are both green will go to the same new grid.
• There aren’t very many unique grids that seem to appear.

It turns out that there are exactly 26 unique grids. Every grid represents a Wordle game, with 5 rows of guesses. Each tile on a grid represents a single letter of a guess in this Wordle game, and it also represents the other grid that you go to when you click that tile. This correspondence is partially confirmed by the puzzle title.

Each of these 26 grids corresponds to a unique letter, and the exact correspondence can be found by treating every row as a 5 letter word and solving the entire data set as a single large cryptogram. This can be done by using tools such as quipquip, or with by-hand methods like using frequency analysis, looking at certain rows or groups of rows with interesting properties, and some amount of guess and checking. (Fortunately, not all the data needs to be gathered to solve this cryptogram.) Solvers may notice that, with the exception of the starting board (whose first three rows start with RED, HER, and RING), the set of 5 guesses in a grid are thematically related. This may aid in confirmation of any partially solved correspondences.

Each of the 26 boards can be solved as a Wordle game. The answers to each of these, in A-Z grid order are:

PLACE GRIDS ALPHA ORDER GOING CROSS WRAPS EVERY FIFTH USING INNER BLOCK COLOR WRITE UPPER RIGHT BRICK VALUE FINAL SOLVE GUESS WORDS UNTIL TOTAL GREEN EXTRAPLACE GRIDS ALPHA ORDER GOING CROSS WRAPS EVERY FIFTH USING INNER BLOCK COLOR WRITE UPPER RIGHT BRICK VALUE FINAL SOLVE GUESS WORDS UNTIL TOTAL GREEN EXTRA

The last answer of EXTRAEXTRA is to be ignored, as indicated by its text, the fact that it was the starting board, and the “RED HERRING” theme of the board. Looking at the remaining message, we can segment it roughly into three parts:

• PLACE GRIDS ALPHA ORDER GOING CROSS WRAPS EVERY FIFTHPLACE GRIDS ALPHA ORDER GOING CROSS WRAPS EVERY FIFTH
• USING INNER BLOCK COLOR WRITE UPPER RIGHT BRICK VALUEUSING INNER BLOCK COLOR WRITE UPPER RIGHT BRICK VALUE
• FINAL SOLVE GUESS WORDS UNTIL TOTAL GREENFINAL SOLVE GUESS WORDS UNTIL TOTAL GREEN

The first part indicates that the grids should be placed going across in rows of five. The third part indicates that at the end, we should somehow play another game of Wordle and find its answer. Arranging the grids as instructed, we arrive at:

F
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N
G
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The Z grid is left out (as indicated by its answer EXTRA):
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A

Looking at the second part of the message, it asks us to take the “upper right” square of each grid for its letter, and the “inner” square of each grid for its color (that is, the center of the 5x5 square). Following this instruction, we arrive at the following Wordle board:

G
E
N
E
S
S
T
E
P
S
E
N
D
O
W
E
T
H
O
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F
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L

This Wordle’s answer is SLATESLATE (though SALETSALET is also possible).

### Sinful Solve

The text indicates that we should find cells with the letter X and consider the entire rows below them. If we have already filled out the grid, then this is a pretty easy task. If not, then we don’t need to fret, as the clue text actually hints where to look:

Lust: You thought you had this puzzle under wraps, but it seems like there's more to solve. It turns out that there was X-rated content the entire time! Find each X-rated brick and look at the rows beneath them until you find your extra answer.Lust: You thought you had this puzzle under wraps, but it seems like there's more to solve. It turns out that there was X-rated content the entire time! Find each X-rated brick and look at the rows beneath them until you find your extra answer.

From this, we can find all 5 words:

 Clued word Grid X-word Word below WRAPS G EXULT CHANT SOLVE T HELIX CURVE BRICK Q PROXY DUMMY UNTIL W BOXER CLOCK EXTRA Z XYLEM SPEAK

Noticing the set of words from the clue text or noticing that the X appears in each column once should serve as confirmation that there are no other Xs to look for. With 5 words that are each 5 letters long, we should of course be looking to solve a Wordle. Noting down these rows with color included, we get the board:

S
P
E
A
K
C
H
A
N
T
C
L
O
C
K
D
U
M
M
Y
C
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V
E

This Wordle’s unique answer is LEAVELEAVE.

### Author’s Notes

Back in the days when Wordle was still cool, our writing team was throwing around a lot of Wordle puzzle ideas, though most of them did not seem particularly serious. I start spending a fair bit of time thinking about what I would want a Wordle puzzle to look like, and toyed with several concepts about recursive Wordle that I didn't quite feel happy with before I settled on this.

This puzzle is actually pretty close to its initial version–most of the updates since then have been UX treatments to make it more pleasant to solve. The first version actually didn’t have the naming feature, and it is kind of amazing that my first two groups of testsolvers could churn through the puzzle anyway.

I found it difficult to strike a balance between adding meaningful QoL features and not cluttering the UI or straight up prescribing what to do, especially since any addition risked being interpreted as something that needed to be meaningfully extracted from as a puzzle mechanic. I still tried to add as much as I thought was reasonable, including the border to tell you where you had come from when you go back, and syncing names across your team. I also made the UI warn you if your team had duplicated names for different grids after one particularly unfortunate experience during a testsolve.

I also tried to minimize the amount of data collection needed. I tried to make individual grids as solvable as possible with only the green and yellow squares, especially when read in context with adjacent words in the A-Z message. I'm reasonably happy about what I ended up with, though there are some grids that don't spark as much joy. There's certainly more constraint wiggle room left to work with (I sure hope no one thought there was a third hidden message in there!), but at some point I definitely felt like I was hitting the point of quickly diminishing returns.

With all that said, I was very glad to see many teams make it through this puzzle. I hope people found it interesting and rewarding!